Letters to the editor

October 04, 2017

Same love, same rights

WE AUSTRALIANS pride ourselves on fairness and decency.

I feel so saddened and disappointed, watching the attempts by No advocates to link the same-sex marriage poll with other issues.

The SSM poll itself has nothing to do with transgenderism; nothing to do with stopping freedom of speech (which has never existed as we have had libel and slander laws from long before recent controversies).

It has nothing to do with stopping freedom of choice for parents (however that is defined); and nothing to do with promoting allegedly extreme views to schoolchildren.

To push such links is ill-informed at best – at worst it is to deliberately mislead people with the intent to cause confusion and fear.

We need to be very clear: these issues coincidentally happen to be in the public eye at the same time, as they are all around the world.

We are living in a time when a huge range of sexual matters is up for discussion internationally.

We would still be talking about them even if the SSM poll did not exist.

They are not caused by gay marriage; they will not result from gay marriage.

Gay marriage is not going to open some kind of floodgate and we need to resist those who say it will. I understand some folk are worried by any social change.

But let those separate issues continue to be discussed in their own right by Australian communities and their representatives, then make responsible decisions and pass any necessary laws.

This poll simply asks you to vote on changing the Marriage Act to include same sex couples.

When my husband and I married 44 years ago we did not have to ask the entire nation for permission.

Certainly gay couples can enter civil unions but, from my reading, in important areas there are still various forms of proof and other hurdles to be overcome that never apply to heterosexual marriages.

We all see around us the dysfunction and devastation of so many heterosexual marriages.

Then I think of the gay couples I know who, for decades, have been demonstrating love and care, commitment and responsibility for each other, their children, neighbourhoods and wider community.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is right in declaring ‘‘the real threat to marriage is lack of commitment’’ by individuals.

If more people want to officially commit their lives to another for life, surely it can only strengthen the institution of marriage.

Why wouldn’t you want same-sex couples to enjoy the same dignity, respect and legal protections that are automatically granted to a heterosexual marriage?

In the name of fairness and decency, please vote Yes with goodwill and help your fellow Australians to enjoy the same recognition, security and happiness as yourself.

Gwen Potter, Echuca

Stop pushing your agendas

THE politicisation of all facets of public life continues as the radical left keeps pushing its agendas wherever and however it can.

The NRL organised for a LGBTIQ anthem to be sung at its grand final.

More than 7000 people signed Tony Wall’s petition calling for the NRL to take LGBTIQ politics out of football.

Opposition to these developments keeps being framed in the language of ‘bigotry’ and ‘intolerance’.

I find it incredibly ironic the ‘Yes’ campaign keeps calling those it does not like ‘divisive’, while it actively divides society on political lines.

The homosexual lobby has its own Olympics, its own award ceremonies in the cultural arena, its own flag and now we are told they will have their own ‘anthem’.

What next?

Are they going to start handing out their own separate homosexual citizenships?

Who is doing the dividing here?

The poison of identity politics is ripping our society apart.

And this poison is being peddled by the ‘Yes’ extremists who are hell-bent on putting Australian against Australian.

This is not acceptable, whatever your opinion might be.

Have the geniuses in the NRL not learnt from the experience in the US?

The radicals in America are also politicising their sports, with disastrous effects.

People are tuning out, leaving the stadiums in droves.

And for what?

Is this really what sport is about in the current year?

Corporate ‘status signalling’ has proven to be fatal to the business world.

It has proven to be fatal to US sports – it will be fatal to the NRL.

In the end, all Australians will lose out.

This divisiveness must stop now.

Rev. Fred Nile MLC, Sydney

Assisted dying ‘bad idea’

GOVERNMENT plans to legalise intentional killing or ‘‘assisted dying’’ for people with ‘‘intolerable’’ symptoms who are ‘‘expected to die within 12 months’’ is a bad idea.

The 12 month life-expectancy criterion can only be somebody’s guess.

Good doctors are never happy about forecasting likely time of death.

Such predictions can never be exactly right.

Spontaneous remissions happen.

New treatments become available.

Likewise, regarding ‘‘intolerable’’ suffering.

Suffering can often be aggravated by inadequate therapy for pain control, anxiety, depression, nausea etc and also by other reversible factors, including loneliness, fear of dependence or family conflicts.

If these are addressed, the situation may become more tolerable.

That’s my view after 50-plus years of doctoring (now retired).

Arnold Jago, Nichols Point

Aged care reform needs attention

THE government’s recent release of the Home Care Packages Program Data Report, six months after the implementation of the Increasing Choice Home Care reforms, shows there are more than 50,000 older Australians awaiting a home care package, with an additional 35,000 people receiving services below their assessed level of need.

The data also reveals that the almost one in five older Australians waiting for a home care package have been waiting longer than 12 months.

Reform on this scale is not without its challenges and it reveals a system in transition and requiring urgent attention.

The home care system is being challenged by the implementation of significant changes that support greater consumer choice, while it is also straining to keep up with growing demand.

The government’s data confirms the serious concerns raised recently in LASA’s Increasing Choice in Home Care Issues Paper which was based on a national survey of almost 20 per cent of home care providers.

The Issues Paper was delivered to the government last month calling on them to address 17 key issues.

The aged care industry stands ready to work with the government and others to resolve the identified issues in the service of older Australians.

Sean Rooney, Leading Age Services Australia chief executive

Start the mental health conversation

WORLD Mental Health Day is held on October 10 and I encourage everyone — whether you have a lived experience of mental illness or not — to think about mental health and wellbeing of yourself and those around you.

The journey to positive mental health is not a journey we should walk alone.

I have been working with disadvantaged young people for more than 40 years and each person I work with has their own story and journey to share.

I encourage them to connect with trusted family and friends to share their journey towards better mental health, and I am asking you to do the same.

Mental health issues affect everyone.

Whether or not you are experiencing mental illness there is always someone around you who is.

As a community we need to look out for each other and that begins with talking.

From my experience on dealing with mental health, I know that starting a conversation can be the biggest turning point for vulnerable young people.

At Youth Off The Streets, we have dedicated youth and case workers who help young people on a daily basis.

The unfortunate truth is 14 per cent of Australian young people aged 4 to 17 have mental health or behavioural problems and it is imperative for us to step in and support our vulnerable kids at this time of crucial growth.

Taking the time to discuss these issues, how they are affecting you and how you are overcoming them can set the path for not only your growth, but for others to follow in the journey of self-care.

This World Mental Health Day, I urge you to support each other and in particular support our young people in starting conversations. Visit for information.

Father Chris Riley, Youth Off The Streets chief executive

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